Devotional Week 48 Wednesday
Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any (one) hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to (them), and will sup with (them), and (they) will sup with Me.”
Revelation 3: 20
“Christ knocks by the trials and afflictions of our mortal lot…Pain will sting. Calamity will strike…Events and feelings of this kind have a holy intent in them…they make us prudent, patient and strong.”
“Speechless ‘Sorrow’ sat with me;
I was sighing wearily;
Lamp and fire were out; the rain
Wildly beat the window-pane;
In the dark we heard a knock,
And a hand was on the lock;
One in waiting spake to me,
‘I am come to sup with thee!’
All my room was dark and damp;
‘Sorrow’, said I, ‘trim the lamp;
Light the fire, cheer thy face;
Set the guest-chair in its place.’
And again I heard the knock;
In the dark I found the lock;
‘Enter, I have turned the key!
Who art come to sup with me?’
Opening wide the door, He came;
But I could not speak His name;
In the guest-chair took His place,
But I could not see His face,
When my cheerful fire was beaming,
When my little lamp was gleaming,
Lo! My Master
Was the guest that supped with me!”
Harriet McEwen Kimball
Today’s Study Text:
1. “The Lord reigns let the peoples tremble with reverential fear. He sits enthroned above the cherubim, let the earth quake! The Lord is great in Zion, and He is high above all the peoples. Let them confess and praise Your great name, awesome and reverence inspiring! It is holy, and holy is He!”
Psalm 99: 1-3
2. “Who shall not reverence and glorify Your name, O Lord, giving Your honor and praise in worship? For You only are holy. All the nations shall come and pay homage and adoration to You.”
Revelation 15: 4
“Unholy Alliances” – Part 1
“Those Who Are Called By My Name”
“A true love for God must begin with a delight in His holiness, and not with a delight in any other attribute for no other attribute is truly lovely without this.”
What does it mean to me personally when I read or say the words, “Holiness to our God”?
In contemporary society, what do I think it means to live a “holy” life?
“Before I begin to think and consider the love of God and the mercy and compassion of God, I must start with the holiness of God.”
“We are called to live lives that more fully reflect God’s character. Holiness is our responsibility and our destiny. It is God’s work in us, work to which we are called as collaborers. What a blessing that is!”
What does it mean to have an “unholy alliance”? This question we are going to study for several days because we live in a world that too frequently doesn’t honor what is holy. It is a world that finds its duplicate in the book of II Kings where we also recognize that the worship of God, in many cases, was supplanted by the worship of things made by the hands of men and women.
How the heart of God must have broken as the very select people, who were called by the name of Jehovah, turned away and bowed down to “things” made by human hands. Those who had seen and heard the words, “Holiness unto the Lord”, which permeated their sacred worship at one time, now instead found their supposed hallowed homage thoroughly mixed with heathen rituals that in no way reflected the honor due the Creator of heaven and earth, our God Almighty.
But before we bash these backslidden worshippers of old, we would do well to reflect on what the words “Holiness to the Lord” means to us in the 21st century. If we place no more value on a life of holy devotion to God in our lives today, we will end up no better off than God’s children of old!
Many years ago, my husband Jim took a tour through the Holy Land and then on his way back to the United States he stopped in England where he made a point to visit St. James’s Church in the center of London. As he reflected on his trip he shared with me the sense of awe he felt entering this historic place of worship.
I’m certain that each of us might be able to draw from our memory bank a time in our life when we felt a sense of profound awe. Maybe even reverence, as if at that particular moment we were standing on holy ground.
In our modern culture, sad to say, the word “holiness” isn’t talked about that much anymore! Sometimes I think it appears old-fashioned and out-of—touch even in some of our church services which have turned into competitive “pop” concerts. I know my weary heart longs to be drawn into a higher and closer place than just mirroring the secular world that crowds out much of the holiness which our soul’s yearn for.
Just the other day, as I was hunting for a certain passage of Scripture, my Bible opened to Exodus 34 and I noticed a particular verse which I’d underlined at some point in time. I want to share the words with you: “When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hand, he did not know that the skin of his face shone and sent forth beams by reason of his speaking with the Lord” (Exodus 34: 29, Amplified Bible). The story, however, doesn’t just end with that one verse. I want to share this entire passage in Exodus 34: 30-35 because it is key in helping you and me more clearly understand the essential necessary in living a life which properly represents God’s holy calling on our lives:
“When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they feared to come near him. But Moses called to them; and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and he talked to them…and when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face. But when Moses went in before the Lord to speak with Him, he took the veil off until he came out. And he came out and told the Israelites, what he was commanded. The Israelites saw the face of Moses, how the skin of it shone; and Moses put the veil on his face again until he went in to speak with God.”
Having spent 40 days and 40 nights on Mount Sinai with God as his treasured companion, Moses did not realize that being in the close company of our Holy God had affected him, not only internally but externally as well. As we learn, when Moses returned to the desert floor, he gave off such a radiance that the people of Israel were literally shocked by the light which shone from his face.
This I must tell you is one of my favorite stories in the Old Testament. There is something life-shaking about the thought that when there is a close association with my heavenly Father, a change will take place in my earth-weary life which will reflect the fact that I have been with my Father. Just so we don’t think this was just some Old Testament ”happening,” I want to point out that after Jesus returned to heaven and His followers began to preach and witness for Him, the people who saw and heard this tattered band of followers speak with such authority, came away with an amazing conclusion: “Now when they saw the boldness and unfettered eloquence of Peter and John and perceived that they were unlearned and untrained in the schools, common men with no educational advantages, they marveled; and they recognized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4: 13, Amplified Bible).
There is no doubt in my mind that time with the heavenly changes the earthly. Time with the eternal transforms the temporal. And if we want to live lives here on earth which reflect the “Name” of the “One” who has called each of us, time in our Father’s presence is the only solution – no question about it.
One of my favorite authors, A. W. Tozer, offers this powerful insight regarding the transforming power of God’s holiness, “We cannot grasp the true meaning of the divine holiness by thinking of someone or something very pure and then raising the concept to the highest degree we are capable of.” I want to insert the fact that Moses couldn’t just sit on an earthen mat and meditate his way into a holy life. For as A. W. Tozer continues, “God’s holiness is not simply the best we know infinitely bettered. We know nothing like the divine holiness…The natural man (and woman) are blind to it.”
So if I am, in my sin-weakened state, unable to comprehend or even imagine what God’s holiness is like, what am I to do? The thoughts shared by Helder Camara helped me to begin to understand that there is a way where those I encounter may see the reflection in my life of the “One” who has called me to come up higher: “Being holy means getting up immediately every time you fall, with humility and joy. It doesn’t mean never falling into sin. It means being able to say, ‘Yes, Lord, I have fallen a thousand times. But thanks to You I have gotten up again a thousand and one times.’ That’s all I like think about.” In the simple words of Philip Sheldrake, “Holiness is a process, a continued movement toward God.”
To those of us called by our Father’s name, the invitation comes each moment of every day, “Come up higher. Take another step upward into your Father’s presence. Keep walking higher.” And the results will be that those who you encounter each day will say without question: “She has been with Jesus. He has been with the Lord, for they reflect their Father’s holiness.”’
“Christian holiness can never be a static thing, something gained once and for all. It has to be maintained amid conflicts and perils that are renewed day by day. It is a moving thing; it can only exist as a function of (our) pilgrimage.”
“Grant, O Lord, that Christ Himself may be formed in us, that we may conform to His image; for His name’s sake.”
“O God, the God of all goodness and grace,
Who art worthy of a greater love
than we can either give or understand;
Fill our hearts, we beseech Thee,
with such love toward Thee
that nothing may seem too hard for us to do
or suffer in obedience to Thy will;
And grant that thus loving Thee,
we may become daily more like unto Thee,
and finally obtain the crown of life
which Thou hast promised to those that love Thee;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
B. F. Westcott
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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